Smart Health guest writer shares ways to get back to former self


Three years ago, I was an all-state volleyball player who put in gym hours outside of practice, swore off sugary drinks and ran for the what-the-hell of it. Trust me, that was a fluke.

Now that my brief reserve of youthful energy has sputtered out, exercise and nutritious eating seems impossible and, I’ll be honest, just plain terrible.

Lucky for me, and those who sympathize, however, there are tons of ways to live a healthy life in a college setting that won’t necessarily make you go to a gym.

Probably the easiest and most obvious way to get free health tips is Pinterest (I mean, really, where else?). There’s no end to the recipes, exercises and motivational quotes that pop up under the “Health and Fitness” category and cater to all your needs. You can even find a handful of really accessible fitness blogs that don’t seem like they’re geared toward already in-shape yoga instructors who love kale.

A word to the wise, though: Pinterest is a little bit like Wikipedia; anybody can contribute, and sometimes the result is less than reliable. If a pin involves Saran Wrap and a sweat lodge, steer clear.

If you’re interested in a more procedural commitment to fitness and weight loss (I won’t say the dreaded “D” word), there are websites entirely devoted to providing you with a supportive community to help you in the process. features a daily recipe and exercise, as well a “Happiness” tab to help you sleep better and manage stress.

You can also find a ridiculously useful calorie counter and activity tracker on Sign up for free on SparkPeople and it will make a custom fitness plan for you, complete with exercises and daily menus.

Most of the exercises you’ll find on the internet can easily be performed in your dorm or apartment, but if you’re anything like me, eating Oreos on the futon will far outweigh the will to exercise if you’re left alone. If that seems to be getting in the way of your health, gather some friends and make a collective commitment to a healthy lifestyle.

Eat from the salad bar in the commons as often as possible. (Within reason, of course. I’m not a monster.) Throw on some cute shorts and sweat it out at a Back Alley Zumba class, or better yet, put on that long-lost swimsuit and attend open swim in the Elmen. We have quality resources at our fingertips, people, so take advantage of them.

Even though I’ll probably never do two-minute planks again, and I’ll definitely never bake my own carrot chips (go home, Pinterest, you’re drunk), I’ve also accepted that a new phase in my life calls for new ways to keep myself healthy.

My body is still my body, regardless of how it’s changed in the last three years.

So I encourage you, as I encourage myself, to ditch those feelings of wanting to look and act like the high school version of yourself and take care of the version you’ve become.